Meet Bright Futures’ Claire Mangrum

claire mangrumShe holds many titles: mom, wife, daughter, college counselor, director of development, podcast aficionado, musical guru, lover of learning, and more.

Claire Mangrum officially joined the Bright Futures team in 2018. But she has been its biggest cheerleader since day one. Because, of course, her mother is Bright Futures’ founder Dr. Beth Dennard!

Claire Mangrum’s High School Days

Having grown up hearing about the Birkman, Claire took the assessment at 16. Her top four interest matches were social service, artistic, persuasive, and literary. Despite knowing the Birkman’s power, she is still shocked at how true her own results still are today. 

In high school, Claire made good grades, played competitive volleyball, and loved participating in community service. Moreover, her high school days were always surrounded by a group of good friends who supported each other. 

Looking back, Claire would tell her high school self that adults genuinely want to help teenagers. As students investigate careers and majors, she encourages them to be brave, make the call, and send the email asking for guidance. Furthermore, everything in life is a learning process. And ultimately, students aren’t in school to prove they know everything – they are there to learn.

The College Admissions Process

Needless to say, as a high school student, Claire had a leg up on the college admissions process. As strong believers in searching outside the box, Claire’s parents supported all of her interests. However, Claire put pressure on herself to forge her bright future.

After applying to a number of colleges, Claire eventually deflected the self-inflicted pressure. Instead, she opted to spend her senior year as a foreign exchange student. During this experience, she came to the realization that she wasn’t passionate about the schools she had applied to. So she declined the offers and decided to continue living abroad in a gap year. 

It was then that she submitted a second round of applications, but to just a few schools. It came down to UT Austin and Pepperdine. Ultimately, the west coast, beautiful beaches, and opportunities to continue meeting new people in a smaller setting called her to Pepperdine. 

Do you and your student need help deciding which colleges best suit their strengths, interests, and goals? Contact Bright Futures today!

College Life & Choosing A Major

As someone who loves being with friends, Claire had to learn to be comfortable on her own. And she quickly learned that there’s a lot more freedom in college. But that freedom comes with the responsibility of managing your own time. 

Going into college, Claire was interested in several of Pepperdine’s majors and programs but wasn’t set on one. However, she took advantage of her options, flexibility, and time. She started as a psychology major, changed to social work, and moved to integrated marketing communications. Then she switched over to advertising before coming full circle back to social sciences. In the end, she ended up majoring in sociology with teaching credentials and a certificate in negotiation and dispute resolution. 

A major in sociology is broad but highly customizable. While pursuing her major, Claire learned to be a strong writer and critical learner. Plus, it gave her a deeper understanding of people and the groups that draw them in.  

Reflecting on majoring in sociology, Claire likes that her learning outcomes can be applied to almost any field. And, of course, that she could learn any technical or industry-specific knowledge or skills through interning or professional training. 

Favorite College Memories

Because of Pepperdine’s proximity to the ocean, many of her favorite college memories revolve around the beach. Specifically, jogging alone or laughing with her Delta Gamma sisters while the sun set on the west coast.

However, she also used the peaceful, scenic beach to study for classes and debate social justice with classmates. Additionally, she fondly remembers holding hands on an awkward first date while walking in the sand. 

The Power Of The Birkman

These days as a college counselor and Birkman consultant, Claire is amazed at the accuracy of the Birkman she took at 16. With her husband being the opposite of her in many ways, she is constantly discovering evidence of her red/green behavior and needs. These include her “get it done” and “let’s talk about it” mentalities. 

As her strengths and interests continue to intersect in adulthood, seeing her past decisions as evidence of her self-awareness is reaffirming. Most importantly, the Birkman has made it easier to understand, value, and admire others different from herself. 

Ready to unlock potential and practice the art of self-acceptance? Contact Bright Futures today to schedule the Birkman Assessment.

The Highlights Of Being A College Counselor 

It’s safe to say that Claire could list a million benefits of being a college counselor. However, her favorite part of her career has been celebrating with her students when they achieve their goals. 

Before joining Bright Futures, Claire worked in college admissions. For 6 years she traveled the country to visit high schools, meet applicants, and decide applications. This is where her second favorite career highlight comes in, making the calls to inform students they were awarded full-ride scholarships!

By preceding college counseling as a selective college recruiter, Claire has a unique eye for knowing what it takes to make an application stand out. 

Life Outside Of College Counseling

She may not have always been an early bird, but her two young children, Eliza and Jet, have forced Claire into the role of a 6am coffee person. But when she pairs that with her favorite breakfast, a la Mexicana with avocado, it means a great day is ahead.

When you ask Claire what she’s been listening to, she’s quick to tell you she loves all music all the time! Play anything and everything from 1970s soul classics to modern folk, and she is ready to groove. 

Furthermore, you can often find her listening to a wide variety of podcasts, too. Right now, her most frequent include a couple of parenting podcasts, “Good Inside” and “Risen Motherhood.” In addition, she’s also listening to “How I Build This” and “This American Life,” both by NPR. 

Overall, Claire loves to learn! She uses her time to learn about human behavior. Moreover, she enjoys studying the Bible through a tense of historical and Jewish cultural context. Additionally, she loves to learn about real estate investing, all things design, and small business practices.

Advice For Students

Having started her career as a college recruiter, Claire’s student clients can greatly benefit from her own experiences. 

When it comes to shelling out advice, Claire wants students to think outside the box when trying new activities. Moreover, don’t be afraid to initiate an idea. Students will help themselves the most by choosing to spend their energy on things they’re genuinely curious about. 

Furthermore, Claire wants students to realize that their time and efforts are valuable. Don’t do things just because of how you hope they might look in the college admissions process.

Helping Students To Build Their Bright Futures

Needless to say, Claire Mangrum spends a great deal of time working with Gen Zers. She has realized that they are brave, innovative, and more comfortable in their skin than she remembers being as a teenager.  

Pair that with her unique expertise in the college admissions process, Claire helps her students to truly unlock their potential. With the help of the Birkman, her students are able to really dive deep into self-acceptance and put their best foot forward. 

If you’re ready to learn how Bright Futures can help your high school student best prepare for their college admissions process, schedule a free consultation today!